Gardening is good for you, but so is spending some time enjoying your garden. Whether that’s starting the day with tea and toast on the patio, relaxing in the shade, dining alfresco or chilling after a busy day at the office. Bright mornings, sunny days and hopefully warm balmy evenings tempt us outside to enjoy a dose of green therapy, boosting our mood and recharging our batteries.
Incorporating spaces to relax, socialise and have fun in our gardens is important, and so’s the furniture we choose. While not many of us will actually have a hammock, I bet when you saw it your first thought was relaxing, the second was probably how on earth am I going to get into that!
Plants bring us closer to nature, improving our mood and relieving depression, even taking away aches and pains and speeding up rehabilitation after illness, and improving our mental health. That feeling of wellbeing you get from just being outside comes from a boost of what have colloquially been called ‘outdoorphins’ - it’s no secret that Greenwich Park is one of my happy places.
Plants of the moment for instant colour and displays
There’s plenty of choice at garden centres and nurseries which will add instant colour and impact to our gardens. Many are ready-planted in larger patio pots and hanging baskets that can be put straight outside to enjoy with minimal effort. Often they’re already in bloom too, so there’s instant bonuses, but it also makes them easier to coordinate with our existing plants, and our furniture and accessories.
As well as ornamental plants, don’t forget the pots of tomatoes, chillies and strawberries as well as vegetables, salads, fruits and herbs. There’s nothing better than picking - and eating - crops you’ve grown yourself.
Bedding plants like Begonia, Verbena, Petunias, Pelargoniums (a favourite of mine), Lobelia, Dahlias and Zinnias.
Hardy perennials like Geranium, Echinacea, Phlox, Astrantia (I must buy myself some of these), Salvia, Penstemon, and Heucheras - which is just a great word to say!
Shrubs like Hydrangea, Hebe, Choisya, Phormium and Yucca, or perhaps a climbing rose, Clematis, Honeysuckle or Jasmine - and the balmy evenings will really bring out their scent.
Fruit and vegetables like Strawberries, Tomatoes, Chillies and Peppers, Squash, salad plants and potted herbs. Tasty as well as bringing colour to your garden.